Tablets, suddenly, are all the rage.
Is HP to thank for that? Maybe.
After the company in mid-August said it would discontinue the development of webOS products, it started the fire sale of its TouchPad tablet at $99.99 for the 16GB and $149.99 for the 32GB. Originally, the 16GB was $499 and 32GB was $599.
At those prices, the result was a frenzy.
Every retailer in the universe that carried the tablet — which many software developers have said could have rivaled the iPad with its user-friendly and intuitive operating system — sold out. Go online at any time these days and you'll see that the madness continues. Online retailer TigerDirect, for example, managed to get more of the elusive and coveted devices, selling out in mere minutes.
Check out TechRepublic's "Three areas where HP TouchPad trumps the iPad" video:
Also worth noting is the fact that an increasing number of manufacturers are jumping in, creating tablets that run some incarnation of Google's Android mobile operating system. Acer, Asus, Motorola, PanDigital, Samsung, Sylvania, Toshiba and ViewSonic are only a few of them.
And, of course, Amazon soon will be jumping into the game, with reports of a 7-inch so-called Kindle tablet — not the most creative name — with a custom OS Amazon developers apparently built off a version of Android prior to 2.2. The nice part: The price. When released next month, it's expected to be $250. Like video-console makers, Amazon is hoping purchases make up the losses it takes on devices.
Combined, all these things create affordable price points for a nonessential device, thus allowing an increasing number of people and businesses to buy them.
How does, or would, your business use tablets?
Andréa Maria Cecil is managing editor at the Central Penn Business Journal. She is a 33-year-old native New Orleanian who is interested in how gadgets and technology can make business more efficient.